I have been thinking a little bit about what to write today. I have a path I want to go down so when I look back I have a milestone and I can look at it and see if things have changed.
First, I should update on my progress. Was yesterday better than the day before? Nope, not even close, but it wasn’t bad either and today will surely be better. I only got to see my wife for 25 min yesterday when we were awake. We were both either running our kids or ourselves 1000 different directions so I saw her for a few minutes before I took the kids to school, then a little bit before we left for our children’s nightly activities. So that was not all that fun. I did get my 15 sec and we texted and called each other throughout the day so we still had a chance to connect, but it got a little lonely for a bit.
Now I want to write about what I have learned so far through all this. I know I have a lot to learn and am nowhere close to being finished with this journey, but I think a little reflection might help to see if I am making progress or just spinning my wheels.
First, I learned that you have to take care of yourself in order to be able to show love to someone else. Both my wife and I have failed in this area. She with her depression and me since the affair. When I am eating and sleeping I know my days are easier and I have good days with her, even if we have deep, long discussions. I can show her love because I have the energy and the drive to do that when I am eating and sleeping. When I am not I focus on myself and cannot share anything.
Second, I have tried to give excuses for why the affair has happened. I did this early on and still catch myself doing it every now and then. The reality is I am the one who made the decision to cheat. If I thought the marriage was that bad I should have left, not taken this route. I made that choice and she had nothing to do with that choice. I have to take responsibility and be a key component in both her recovery and my own. This will not fix itself.
Third, I need to be more honest because sometimes showing loves does hurt. The most loving thing you can give someone is honesty even if it hurts that person. I continue on a regular basis to fail at this. I have to stop myself and not sugar coat everything. I just need to be honest and then let the other person make their decision based on all the information not just the version I give them.
Fourth, I hate but need other people. I like being by myself, but not having anyone to discuss my problems with but myself is what caused a lot of this. I was able to rationalize and convince myself the affair was for the best. I was able to convince myself that being with the other woman was reality and not identifying it as fantasy. I know there are a lot of people, guys especially, who think they can fix themselves. Well you cannot, because you really struggle to see the problem from the right perspective. Even when you think you are doing well you will rationalize small things, but those are the things that add up to make a difference later on. I have to have someone else, for me it is my counselor. A close friend who would be brutally honest might serve if nothing else is available, but don’t do it alone. You are just dragging out the misery that way.
Fifth, my wife is not the enemy. She wants me to succeed, not fail. I cannot look at her as the one who is the bad guy when she calls me out on holding back. I am the bad guy to myself so I need her. She may not like the role but she does it because she wants me, us, to succeed in this.
Sixth, everything I thought I knew about relationships is crap. Most of what I read is crap. I tried every self-help book and article to “fix” our marriage but the marriage was not the problem. It was the two participants in the marriage. Neither of us treated the other how they wanted, needed to be treated to be happy. Now we are discovering how to do that, mostly by fumbling because every couple and relationship is different so there is no set way to “fix” your marriage.
Seventh, I never really understood the devastation that depression and anxiety can cause on a person. I don’t know that anyone will ever get it unless they go through it. I am far from recovered but I am slowly getting better in this area.
Last, I never knew how quickly and drastically my priorities could change. Once I was forced to choose between the sides it just about killed me, but it was because I was selfish. Once I looked at what I wanted and removed the people involved there was only one choice. My wife fit the criteria I wanted and needed and the things she was lacking I knew we could work on together. I had a clouded perspective caused by my own isolation and once that was removed it became much clearer.
Hopefully as I look back in a few months I have more to add to this list and possibly expand on the things I have written on here. Now I need to head home and see my wife for at least 35 min before the craziness of our lives begins.
Things may happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you – Dr. Seuss